Summary: This morning, we’re going to encounter someone who was in desperate need of grace. She came face-to-face with her sin and with Jesus and drank deeply of the “Sensitivity of Grace.”
The Sensitivity of Grace
If you’ve been with us for the last four weeks, you’ll know that we’re in the middle of a series called, “Grace Encounters.” As we look at how Jesus interacted with people, we’ve been learning about how grace can change our lives.
In the first message entitled, “The Setting for Grace,” we learned about how gracious Jesus was with children. We were reminded to:
Let children come
Learn from children
Love children intentionally
In week two, we focused on “The Search for Grace” as we observed how Nicodemus came to Jesus wanting to know how he could get to Heaven. Jesus pointed him to the new birth. This saving grace is not something we can earn or work for it’s a free gift given by a gracious God. If we want what Nicodemus found, we need to do what he did:
Admitted his need
Came to Jesus personally
Trusted Christ completely
Two weeks ago, we tackled “The Scandal of Grace” where we established that:
- Grace reminds us that God’s favor is a gift
- Grace keeps us from looking down on ourselves
- Grace makes us equal to everyone else
- Grace offers us a fresh start
Last week in a message entitled, “The Scope of Grace,” we established that while some people are like the younger son who left God, and others of us are more like the older brother who sinned while staying home, we’re all in need of grace.
- The Father comes out to meet us
- The Father offers us grace
This morning, we’re going to encounter someone who was in desperate need of grace. She came face-to-face with her sin and with Jesus and drank deeply of the “Sensitivity of Grace.” Turn in your Bibles to John 8.
I need to mention before we start that this section is not found in some of your Bibles. This passage, while very well known, was not included in most of the early transmissions of the Bible.
Having said that, this grace encounter is certainly in the spirit of how Jesus dealt with broken people. Without a doubt, it does constitute a genuine account of what took place when Jesus met with this woman.
I like reading the comics. In one, Calvin and Hobbes are walking along and Calvin says, “You know what the problem is with the universe?”
Waiting for the shoe to drop, Hobbes responds, “What?”
Calvin answers, “There’s no toll-free customer service hot line for complaints! That’s why things don’t get fixed. If the Universe had any decent management, we’d get a full refund if we weren’t completely satisfied!”
Hobbes objects: “But hey, the universe is free.”
To which Calvin retorts: “See, that’s another thing. They should have a cover charge and keep out all the riffraff.”
If we’re honest, many of us wish that the riffraff would just go away or that they be punished. We tend to be pretty tough on people when they do things that bother us. We clamor for God’s justice to be poured out on others, while we ourselves long for God’s grace.
It’s like the haughty woman in London who asked a well-known painter to do her portrait. She added, “And see that the painting does me justice.” Taking one look at the hard features of this brash woman’s face, the painter observed: “Madame, what you need is not justice, but mercy and grace!”
In John 8, we come to a powerful story about the sensitivity of grace, which clearly teaches that from the perspective of God’s perfect holiness, we’re all riffraff — we’re all sinners who fall short of God’s glory and desperately need, not justice, but mercy and grace.
Here’s what we’re going to do this morning. We’re going to follow a simple three-word outline as we camp in this passage. After we get a better understanding of the text and its background, we’ll conclude with some principles and action steps that we can apply to our lives.
Here’s the outline:
Verses 1-6a Confrontation
Verses 6b-9 Conviction
Verses 10-11 Comfort
Let’s start with the Confrontation in the first six verses. Let’s read it together. (1) But Jesus went up to the Mount of Olives. (2) At dawn he appeared again in the temple court, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. (3) The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and (4) said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. (5) In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (6) They were using this as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.